The Arkansas Supreme Court today agreed to hear oral arguments in an appeal of a judge’s recent decision to issue a preliminary injunction stopping the state’s Medical Marijuana Commission from awarding five permits to companies to cultivate medical marijuana in the state. Arguments will be set for June 7.
In response to a lawsuit filed by Naturalis Health, one of dozens of applicants that finished low in the scoring, Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen declared the commission’s scoring of five top applicants “null and void” in March, primarily citing conflicts of interest with the commissioners. In a separate ruling last month, Griffen urged the commission to go back to the drawing board and once again evaluate applications “to proceed with the work required to properly screen, evaluate, and select medical marijuana cultivation license facility licensees.” The state has also stopped evaluating applications for businesses to sell medical marijuana.
The state, however, appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court, citing the sovereign immunity of the commission. In his original ruling, Griffen said that, while the amendment legalizing medical marijuana said it did not waive sovereign immunity, the argument can’t be used by the state here because the lawsuit alleges illegal action by the state.